Ethics Committee Consortium

The Ethics Committee Consortium is a collaborative effort of more than 20 healthcare organizations who meet on a regular basis to:

  • Educate themselves to “do ethics”
  • Develop and review hospital policies
  • Consult on complex cases arising in the organization 

These activities have been shown to improve patient outcomes and reduce organizational risk.

Ethics Committee Resources


In recent years, the Center launched the Ethics Committee Consortium Webinar Series, which features monthly webinars on a range of topics from introductory training for new ethics committee members to case retrospectives and discussions on emerging issues in healthcare. This series is supplemented by periodic ethics committee skills development Workshops held in Kansas City.


When your organization or you become a member of Consortium, you will receive the schedule of webinars and workshops. Watch for an online discussion group forming to engage members in more robust ethics conversations. The online discussion will be monitored and facilitated for quality and responsiveness.




Recently, the Center launched the Ethics Dispatch, a monthly email containing discussion of bioethics issues, related news headlines, case studies, and philosophical musings from Center staff and other contributing authors. The Dispatch is designed to contribute educational content for regular ethics committee meeting agendas.


By joining the Consortium, you can request free copies of this handbook designed to orient new committee members. 
Please email



Please visit our free Case Studies Library.

Become a Consortium Member


Ethics Committee Consortium membership is primarily composed of ethics committee members at hospitals and other providers that partner with the Center for services under our Ethics Direct/Ethics+ Plus program.


Please join the Ethics Consortium as an individual to receive the benefits of membership and to support the work of the Center.  For as little as $5 per month, you will be supporting educational content that helps ethics committees grapple with tough issues. Ultimately you will be contributing to improved outcomes for patients, families and all those who care for them.

By joining as an individual of the Consortium, you become part of the Practical Bioethics Sustainers Council — someone who creates a reliable source of year-round funding to infuse ethics into health and healthcare while you receive information and updates on bioethics issues.


For more information about the Ethics Committee Consortium and its programs, contact:
Polo Camacho, 816-979-1366 or

History of the Consortium

The first hospital ethics committees in the nation were established in the 1970s, and the primary catalyst for their growth was the 1976 Karen Quinlan case. As the case was argued, the judge, who had read an article about ethics committees in the Baylor Law Review, remarked that cases like this belong before ethics committees rather than courts. 
In 1992, the Joint Commission – then the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations – mandated that hospitals establish a clinical ethics “mechanism.” The three primary functions of ethics committees, as identified by the American Hospital Association in 1986, are to:

• Educate themselves to “do ethics”
• Develop and review hospital policies
• Consult on complex cases arising in the hospital 
In 1986, in response to numerous ethics committee members seeking opportunities to learn from each other, the Center for Practical Bioethics convened the Kansas City Regional Hospital Ethics Committee Consortium, which remains the oldest continuously operating Consortium of its kind in the nation. Through the years, the Consortium has developed guidelines in response to issues raised by members. 

Center for Practical Bioethics

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